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Two Contrasting Halves Of Football Not Enough For Tyrone.
Well it was certainly a game of two halves in the final of The Barrett Lighting Mc Kenna Cup. Derry bossed the opening thirty five minutes and eventually won by a point but not before Tyrone gave them a serious second half examination. The Oak Leafers led by eight points at the break and deservedly so as they were much the hungrier and more committed side during that period. Paddy and Eoin Bradley were threatening up front but all over the field john Brennan’s side looked more up for the battle. Enda Muldoon’s goal just before half time summed up an abject first half from Tyrone and as they left the field at the short whistle they had the look of a beaten team about them.
The second half however saw a total metamorphosis from the men in white as Tyrone transformed themselves from the disjointed, nervous, lethargic looking bunch of the first half to a dominant, dogged and determined side of the second half. Whatever Mickey Harte and his management team said at the break certainly worked as Tyrone upped the pace considerably in the second half and may consider themselves unlucky to have lost the game.
Kevin Hughes took over at midfield during that period and both Sean Cavanagh and Brian Mc Guigan rolled back the years as the Red Hand men not only reeled in Derry’s eight point lead but by the eighteenth minute were ahead courtesy of Sean Cavanagh’s fourth point of the night.
The opening twenty minutes of the second half will live long in the memory of those who watched it as we saw a renewed Tyrone produce a comeback as good as the great Dublin one of 2005. Unfortunately they were unable to maintain the momentum and a fortuitous Derry goal, their first score of the second half, in the twenty first minute gave Brennan’s side something to hold onto.
Derry eventually won 2-12 to 2-11 but Tyrone will take an awful lot from their display in that final thirty five plus seven minutes. They showed invention, hunger, endeavour and commitment and individually and collectively produced some of their best football for years. I am sure competition sponsor Martin Barrett would love to have been presenting the trophy to his near neighbour Ryan Mc Menamin, but he will have seen enough tonight to know that Tyrone are far from finished and may yet have a big say in the destiny of honours later in the year.